Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Surprised Me

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

It’s Tuesday again!  This week is all about surprises.  For my list, I’ve included books, in no particular order, that surprised me in a variety of ways.  Some of the books listed I expected to like, but didn’t enjoy as much as I thought I would, and some I didn’t think I would like but ended up loving.  I’ve also included a few books that had a surprisingly powerful impact on me, or an unexpected ending.

Signs of the Zodiac Series by Vicki Pettersson-I really enjoy books that fall into the paranormal category, but this series left me with surprisingly conflicted emotions.  I think the premise of the series is unique, and the take on good and evil is complex.  However, I had a love/hate relationship with the main character, and I had issues with how some traumatic situations were handled.  Complicated feelings aside, I still feel the series was worth reading.

Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead-I really expected to like this series.  I enjoy books about vampires, and friend recommended it to me.  However, I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.  I was intrigued by the world Ms. Mead created, but Rose isn’t my favorite character, and I was never a fan of her romance with Dmitri.  I’m glad I read the series, but it will never be a favorite.  I enjoyed the spin off series, Bloodlines, much more.

The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins-I’m not a fan of dystopian, and I was very hesitant to read this series, especially because there was a lot of hype surrounding it.  A very good friend convinced me to read it, and I’m glad they did.  I loved it.  Once I started reading the series, I couldn’t put it down!

Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England by Judith Flanders-I enjoy history, but I’ve never read much non-fiction.  I decided to read this after a friend recommended it to me.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!  It isn’t a book I raced through, but I enjoyed picking it up and reading a chapter or two at a time.  I enjoyed it so much I’ve read a couple of similar books since and have several more in my tbr.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice-I know I’ve included this book in several of my lists, but it is belongs on this one too.  When I first experienced this book, I’d never read any books with vampires.  However, I was pulled into this tale and have enjoyed vampire novels ever since.

blur, book stack, books

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling-This is another series I put off reading for a very long time.  I tend to drag my feet when it comes to reading books with a lot of hype surrounding them, and I don’t like feeling pressured into reading a book.  I’m glad I read it because the entire series is wonderful.

The Lady or the Tiger by Frank R. Stockton-I will always remember the way I felt when I first read this story.  I was so surprised and intrigued by how Mr. Stockton left the ending!

The Crucible by Arthur Miller-I read this years ago in school and have read it a couple times since then, but I’ll always remember being surprised by how strong my reaction to the story was.  Such a powerful story!

A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner-It has been a very long time since I read this story, but it is certainly memorable.  It is such a tragic and creepy tale, and of course the ending is quite shocking.

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson-Another short story with a surprising ending!

What do you think?  Were any of these books/series surprising to you?  Did you enjoy them?


  1. We read The Lottery at uni. The ending was very surprising

  2. It’s funny, I hear a lot of people talk about Vampire Academy and Bloodlines the other way around. That they love Vampire Academy, but not Bloodlines.
    Harry Potter is an all time favorite!
    I agree with The Hunger Games. There was a lot of hype, but I really enjoyed them.

    • Poinsettia says:

      Yes, I hear that about Vampire Academy and Bloodlines as well. Apparently I’m a little strange. Like I said, I thought it was good, but not great. Adrian was a favorite character from Vampire Academy, and I was thrilled to see him in the spin off series. Plus, I enjoyed the dynamic between Adrian and Sydney more than I like Rose and Dmitri. Just my personal preference I guess.
      Thank you for visiting and commenting! 🙂

  3. I was the same way with The Hunger games. Loved ’em. And I just read them for the first time recently. Vampire academy has sort of been on my TBR for a while, ever since I saw the movie. I know it wasn’t very good but it did get me kind of interested in the world. Good to know that Bloodlines might be better.

    • Poinsettia says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed The Hunger Games! I’m glad the Vampire Academy movie got you interested in the books. They are much better. Thanks for visiting!

  4. I was the same with Hunger Games and Harry Potter, I was hesitant because I didn’t think I’d enjoy them! Great list!

  5. Wonderful list! There are so many books here that I want to read including Harry Potter 😀 (yeah I know). I have just read first book and hoping to read all of them soon 🙂

    • Poinsettia says:

      I was late reading Harry Potter too, but I’m okay with that. I figure better late than never! 🙂 Thanks for visiting and commenting. 🙂

  6. I started reading HP fairly late and loved it too.
    Lynn 😀

    • Poinsettia says:

      It seems several of us were late reading Harry Potter. There are so many books I want to read that I’m usually behind in several of the series on my tbr list. Clearly I need more time to read! Thanks for visiting. 🙂

  7. Forty Two Thoughts says:

    I read The Crucible at school too, it certainly surprised me!

    • Poinsettia says:

      Definitely! I’ve read it a couple times, but it has been a while since I read it. Thanks for visiting!

  8. I also picked up Harry potter series because of the hype about it and just fell in love with the series. All the books in the series were just amazing.

    • Poinsettia says:

      It is such a great series! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. 🙂

  9. I need to read interview with a vampire. Hunger Games is the only book(s) on this list I’ve read, and I absolutely love them.
    Here’s our tuesday posts:
    Teaser Tuesday:

  10. Jk, I lied. I’ve read Harry Potter too, I somehow missed that on the list, oops.

  11. I didn’t even think of The Hunger Games for this list, but definitely fits for me as well! I didn’t even it until like right before the movie came out. I was so worried about being disappointed by the hype! Great list! 🙂

    • Poinsettia says:

      Yes, I read the series shortly before the movie came out. I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie. The movies were good, but the books were better. Thank you for commenting! 🙂

  12. I’m with you on Vampire Academy too. I had a hard time with Rose and the whole Dimitry thing and ended up not reading the last book haha.

    • Poinsettia says:

      I think you’re the first person to agree with me on this! I’m glad I’m not alone. I did read the whole series and I did like it, but it wasn’t my favorite. For me the best thing to come out of the series was leading into the spin off. Thanks for visiting and commenting. 🙂

  13. I loved the Vampire Academy series but I read it way back when it came out and theselection and variety wasn’t as huge as today. I still stand by it but I understand those who doesn’t like it as much.

    • Poinsettia says:

      I did like the series. Just not as much as I was hoping, and it did lead me into the spin off series, which I really enjoyed. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  14. The Hunger Games is such a great series! As is Harry Potter! I tried to read Vampire Academy but couldn’t get into it so I agree with you 🙂

    • Poinsettia says:

      Yes to The Hunger Games and Harry Potter! 🙂 Yeah, Vampire Academy was good, but not great in my opinion. I really enjoyed the spin off though. Thank you for reading my post and commenting!

  15. Well, I am a big fan of the Harry Potter books and have been from the beginning. I also liked the Hunger Games series. The Lottery – read that in school – really creepy. And The Crucible – also read that in high school. Loved it.

    • Poinsettia says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. They are both great series. Yes, The Lottery is definitely creepy, and The Crucible is great. Thanks for commenting!

  16. Ooh nice picks!! Vampire Academy made my list too! I could say that Harry surprised me too! I mean, Harry practically fits nearly every TTT topic! Lol! Signs of the Zodiac was another series I really enjoyed back then! It was different and fun!

    Thanks for visiting my post!

    • Poinsettia says:

      Yes, it seems Harry Potter could fit into almost any TTT! Signs of the Zodiac was definitely different and interesting. I keep meaning to read more books by the same author, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. Thanks for visiting! 🙂

  17. Chrissi Reads says:

    I was exactly the same with The Hunger Games. I didn’t expect to like it at all.

    • Poinsettia says:

      I think discovering you love a book you didn’t expect to is one of the best kinds of surprises. Thank you for reading my post and commenting!

  18. I’ve read the first Vampire Diaries book, and I ended up liking it more than I expected.

    • Poinsettia says:

      I’ve never read the Vampire Diaries books, but I have watched the show. I had a friend tell me the show was actually better than the books (a rarity), so I’m not sure if I want to check the books out or not. Thanks for visiting. 🙂

  19. The Hunger Games and Harry Potter made my list this week too. I came to both of those series late too and was really surprised just how much they captivated me.

    • Poinsettia says:

      I come to a lot of series late. There are always so many books I want to read and not enough time. I feel like I’m always behind! Thank you for commenting!

  20. I liked Bloodlines better than VA too. I was ok with Rose, but I loved Sydney and Adrian.

    • Poinsettia says:

      Yes! I loved Sydney and Adrian. They are such a great couple. 🙂 Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  21. I’m so glad to see you gave HP a chance. It is hard to make yourself read a really popular series sometimes. I’m always nervous I’m going to be the odd one out and hate it.

    • Poinsettia says:

      Exactly. I didn’t want to read something so many people loved, not like it, and then deal with everyone telling me I should like it. Fortunately, I loved it. Thank you for visiting!

  22. I’m so glad Harry Potter and The Hunger Games were wonderful surprises for you!
    My TTT:

    • Poinsettia says:

      Yes, being surprised in a good way with a book is one of the best surprises. Thank you for visiting and commenting!

  23. Great list! Love Hunger Games and Harry Potter <3

  24. I agree with HUnger Games. I’m also glad I picked it up. It’s actually one of my first Dystopian Reads. 🙂 And I’m in book 4 of Vampire Academy. I kinda like the first book, but the next? not much. 🙂

    • Poinsettia says:

      I’m glad I read The Hunger Games too. I don’t know that I’ll start reading a lot of dystopian books, but I’ll be more willing to give them a chance. I know what you mean about Vampire Academy. If you get a chance, you should read the spin off series, Bloodlines. I really enjoyed it. Thank you for visiting my post and commenting. 🙂

  25. Solidarity on Hunger Games!

  26. I’m the opposite with Vampire Academy haha. The covers were so horrible they always turned me off reading them but when I finally picked them up, I was surprised how much I enjoyed them. I just didn’t get into Bloodlines in the same way. Adrian and Sydney just felt really forced to me.

    • Poinsettia says:

      I’m not a big fan of the covers for Vampire Academy or Bloodlines either. Fortunately, while I appreciate beautiful covers, I don’t let that make the decision on whether or not I’ll read the book. I’d have missed out on some great books if I did. Thank you for visiting and commenting!

  27. Vampire Academy is actually one of my favourite series! The first book was sort of iffy, I have to admit, but the books keep getting better throughout the series! Bloodlines is also fantastic except the covers are horrible. Clearly, I’m a fan of Richelle Mead! I love your honesty though!

    • Poinsettia says:

      I do like Vampire Academy. It just isn’t a favorite, and then when I read Bloodlines I just enjoyed it so much more. I agree about the covers though. I’m not a fan of them either. I do enjoy Richelle Mead’s writing and would definitely read more of her work. Thanks for visiting!

  28. Nooo! I love the Vampire Academy series! I hate this one didn’t work for you. *cries quietly and smiles*

    And YES! Harry Potter! I have so much love for these books. I grew up with them.

    Do You Dog-ear?

    • Poinsettia says:

      I do like the Vampire Academy series, it just isn’t a favorite. However, because I read it, I found Bloodlines, which I loved. 🙂 Harry Potter is great! I read it until I was an adult, but I love it. Thanks for visiting and commenting. 🙂

  29. Inside the Victorian Home looks like one I would enjoy!

    • Poinsettia says:

      I really liked it, and I hope you get the chance to enjoy it too. If you’re into that sort of history, I also recommend How to be Victorian by Ruth Goodman. While Judith Flanders approaches the topic from the perspective of different rooms in the home, Ruth Goodman approaches it from a morning to night perspective. Both are fascinating reads. Thanks for visiting!

  30. The Crucible is such a great read! I had to read it for English class in high school and it was one of the few texts we read where the entire class actually got really into it. Great list!

  31. I read Harry Potter in first grade, mainly because of the hype surrounding it…. no regrets!

  32. I loved Interview with the Vampire! I was less impressed as the series went on, but there were some real gems in it.

    • Poinsettia says:

      I agree there are some clunkers in that series, but some I really loved. Have you read the two most recent Lestat books? I haven’t but I’d like to. Thank you for visiting and commenting. 🙂

  33. I’ll need to pick up The Lottery. Also you asked on my blog if I read any other Sarah Waters books, since I listed Fingersmith. I read Tipping The Velvet (good), The Little Stranger (part of it was excellent, part okay) and Nightwatch (excellent but didn’t like the ending). I do feel like Fingersmith is her best.

  34. Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog says:

    I put off the HP series too because of the hyp but loved it!

    • Poinsettia says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. It has definitely touched a lot of people. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. 🙂

  35. Despite their universal popularity, I’ve never read Richelle’s ‘Vampire’ series. In fact, I doubt I ever will because vampire stories aren’t my thing. I didn’t get into the genre with the “Twilight” craze, so I doubt I will at this point. 😀

    Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland!!

    • Poinsettia says:

      You’re welcome. 🙂
      I was reading vampire stories long before the Twilight craze. 🙂 As I said in my post I was hooked on vampires from reading Interview with the Vampire. I know it isn’t for everyone though. I do enjoy reading books with vampires and seeing how different people interpret them.
      Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  36. When I first started reading Harry Potter, I thought it was only for kids and just wanted to see what the hype was. It turned out to be so, so much more than that so I’m defintiely happy it surprised me <3

    • Poinsettia says:

      Me too! Unexpectedly loving a book is one of the best kind of surprises. Thank you for visiting! 🙂

  37. Some great recs here!

  38. I really liked the Hunger Games series and was surprised by how popular the books became. Normally people just want to watch the movies and forget about the reading part.

    • Poinsettia says:

      In my experience, the books are always better then the movie. Even when the movie adaptation is very good, the book still wins most of the time. Thank you for visiting and commenting! 🙂

  39. I’m about to start Vampire Academy and I hope I enjoy it because I’ve seen a lot of mixed responses towards it. And I was surprised by how much I enjoyed The Hunger Games too!

    • Poinsettia says:

      I hope you enjoy it as well. Liking a book unexpectedly is a great surprise! Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

  40. I’ve only read Mead and I enjoyed the ones I read but it was never a series I craved and just HAD to get my hands on. I don’t think I ever finished those, actually. Hm.

    • Poinsettia says:

      It wasn’t one I craved either, but I thought it was okay, and it did introduce me to the Bloodlines series, which I really enjoyed. Thank you for visiting. 🙂

  41. Great list! The Hunger Games never gets old for me. <3

    • Poinsettia says:

      I’ve only read the series once, but as I said, dystopian isn’t one of my preferred genres so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Thank you for visiting!

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